Once again President Clinton and the United States on August 20, 1998 violated international law with a pre-emptive cruise missile attack on four "terrorist" camps in eastern Afghanistan and a pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum.21 were killed in Afghanistan and 30 were wounded there; at least ten workers were wounded in the Khartoum medical drug factory. In his speech to the nation from the White House oval office timed to dominate the news on another day of testimony before the grand jury by Monica Lewinsky, Clinton tried to justify the attack as "self-defense." However, Article 51 of the United Nations Charter only allows the inherent right of self-defense "if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations," not as a pre-emptive strike against some feared attack in the future. The United States Justice Department claimed the attack did not violate U. S. laws because of a 1996 U. S. anti-terrorism law, but they did not address the issue of international law. When a more obvious motivation for the strike is as a retaliatory reaction to the bombings of the U. S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, who is going to believe this rationalization on a question of mass murder from the lips of Bill Clinton, who has so recently admitted deceiving the public about a little sex with a White House intern?
The strikes were apparently aimed at the business and terrorist activities of Arab Osama bin Laden. Ironically bin Laden (like Saddam Hussein's Iraq in its war with Iran) is a former war ally of the U. S. Government in its attacks on Soviet forces in Afghanistan. In fact the four terrorist camps targeted in that country were primarily built and armed with U. S. money during that war. Once again the United States is fighting with its own Frankenstein's monster it has created itself. Clinton's claim that this attack was not aimed at Islam is not likely to be believed in the Muslim world.
The United States has recently also showed its contempt for international law by refusing to sign the treaty banning land mines and by not cooperating with efforts to establish an international court for criminal justice.
How long will it be before this society and its leaders learn that two wrongs do not make a right? that unilateral terrorist attacks with superior technology are no answer to terrorist attacks of others? that we must learn to live under the rule of law? that greater efforts must be made to settle disputes by nonviolent means? that a single nation, no matter how strong, has no right to appoint itself the world's police force for its special interests? that the world needs a truly democratic government that can protect all nations and peoples from violent criminals by democratically authorized law enforcement? that the United States will not have ethical leaders until the corruption of money is removed from its political elections?